What do Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, Christian Louboutin and Vivienne Westwood all have in common?
Well… Apart from all being fairly super swanky designer type people, they also all feature in Elio and Carly’s big day.
Simple And Elegant
I always wanted a bespoke gown and as soon as I found Joanne Fleming’s website I knew that she was the designer for me. Lace was always my fabric of choice as it has such romantic connotations and I envisaged something very simple and elegant. As I immersed further into the planning of my dress I felt like I wanted to create drama for the ceremony so that is where the concept of the two-in-one dress was formed. For the ceremony I had a tulle overskirt that fixed over the simple lace dress beneath, the silk tulle was so light it created an almost cloud like affect especially in the very windy weather! One guest commented that it was so light it looked as though fairies had created it. I loved it so much I almost didn’t want to take it off for the evening.
My evening look allowed the beautiful lace to shine and also gave me the perfect dress for dancing! I loved the versatility of the dress – that I could wear two completely different looks without changing. I could not recommend Jo enough, everything felt so special even down to the labels in her dress. Jo is as amazing as her dresses!
Crystals And Jewels
I wanted the dress to take centre stage, therefore I kept the accessories really simple. I had a full length two tier silk tulle veil with scatter crystals created by Joanne Fleming to match my dress. I wore a pair of my mothers diamond earrings as my ‘something borrowed’ and a Dior bracelet that as my ‘something old’ as it is really delicate. For the evening I wore a jewel embellished sash to create a different look.
Because of our height difference (I’m 5,3” and Elio is 6,5”) heels were a must, I was greedy and opted for two pairs. I had surprisingly comfortable skyscraper Christian Louboutin Fifi’s in gold for the day. In the evening I swapped for a pair of Vivienne Westwood x Melissa Lady Dragon’s in as an extra ‘something blue.’
Natural And Understated
I decided early on that I would do my own hair and makeup and as a trained beauty therapist I used the money I would of spent to enhance my own makeup kit, I knew what I wanted (natural and understated) and I enjoy what I do so it allowed me time to relax and have some time to myself whilst my bridesmaids and Mum went off to the hairdressers.
Dainty Metal Baskets
I wanted the flowers to be a feature of the wedding and my florist was AMAZING! I had a very strong vision of what I wanted to create and I was able to take this to Jo McNamara and let her create it. She was so passionate and excited about our wedding and I felt completely relaxed with her. With everything else so neutral the flowers provided an injection of colour and Jo sourced beautiful pastel blooms to tie everything in.
For my bouquet I wanted to incorporate my Rosary beads as they are really important to me, Jo was able to wrap them around my long stem lilac roses. Elio wore a button hole with a matching rose. For the bridesmaids they had pale pink bouquets and the flower girls carried dainty metal baskets with hydrangeas and roses weaved in. The centrepieces at the reception incorporated all of the bridal party’s flowers in tightly packed arrangements placed in the glassware I had provided. I had set up the day before so thought I knew what to expect but when I turned up on the day the flower arrangements had transformed the venue and completely blew me away. Her attention to detail is amazing and I particularly loved the pearls she had threaded through the bear grass. After the wedding we followed a family tradition and took the leftover flowers to the graves of family members who weren’t there so they could be part of the day.
We chose soft pastel colours (pink/lilac/peach) and I knew early on that I wanted a blush or a nude colour for the bridesmaid dresses. Luckily the highstreet was full of choice and I managed to find the bridesmaids dresses from Anushka G in House of Fraser. I loved the pearl detailing on the neckline and the Grecian shape was very flattering. For the younger bridesmaids I found their dresses in Debenhams and as I bought them on an event weekend so they were an unexpected bargain.
The groomsman sourced their suits from Next as we wanted something modern and there wasn’t much choice in the rental shops if you deviate from the traditional wedding attire but it worked out costing only a little more and they could keep the suits! They teamed the suits with white shirts and black skinny ties to complement the Groom. I fell in love with the old-fashioned pageboy outfits on the Little Bevan website so Max wore Ivory knickerbockers with a Peter Pan collared shirt and cummerbund. He was not to be out done on the shoes and we were able to hire their black patent, buckled pirate shoes… adorable! (He might not think the same when the photos resurface in his teens)
Elio wore a Hugo Boss suit teamed with a silk knitted tie. I bought him a pair of Alexander McQueen velvet slippers as a wedding gift and he rocked them with his suit. They were part of a box I put together for him to open on the morning of the wedding. I did my own spin of something old (Samuel Johnson Dictionary that was over 200 years old as Elio used one of his quotes for a piece of Graphic design) something new (shoes) something borrowed (his late Nonno’s cufflinks) and something purple (it’s his favorite colour so I put in a pair of pants!) Elio was keen not compromise on his style and I think he looked gorgeous!
I found Laura Babb our photographer on twitter of all places, she had made some funny tweets about being left waiting for quotes by wedding vendors that I could relate to, so I checked out her website and was blown away by her work. I couldn’t believe it when she said she was available! What convinced me that she was the one for us is her dedication to her clients and her business, full up with flu and barely able to talk Laura called me to confirm my email enquiry, which proved she is a lady of her word!
She not only made two very camera shy people feel at ease in front of the lens but her and her lovely second shooter on our big day (her future husband Pete) felt more like friends than strangers. She also has a habit of sending chocolate with the packs she sends out which is always a winner in my book! We could not be happier with our beautiful photos.
Elio’s Mum always makes the most amazing cakes and neither of us are keen on icing so she created a larger to tier version of the cake we always have for our birthdays. White chocolate cigarillos with a syrup soaked sponge, topped with fresh fruit… yum!
We love hip-hop but it is not a genre widely catered for; also we didn’t want to alienate our guests by having music that they didn’t recognise. I searched high and low for a compromise. In the end we settled for chilled out J Dilla beats and our favorite hip-hop artists such as A Tribe Called Quest and Mos Def intertwined with RnB classics on an iPod during the reception drinks and meal. For the evening we managed to find a band that played a set list that included Beyonce, Outkast and Estelle with a twist that catered for everyone! The Chandeliers brought along percussion instruments that our guests loved playing and got everyone up on their feet!
Our priest allowed us to have John Legend, Stay With You read whilst we signed the register so in keeping with our love of hip-hop we chose Common – The Light as our first dance. We had always loved the song and the words have become very poignant after Elio’s accident so it was an obvious choice.
As Elio is of Italian heritage we decided to create homemade Limoncello which we bottled and labeled ‘Limoncello Di Trapani’.
As the favours were alcoholic we also had a sweetie table for the children and those who prefer not to drink.
A Labour Of Love
The wedding décor was a labour of love that I spent months collecting and putting together. I wanted to incorporate things that I could use again in our home and represent our style, it also meant I could justify spending a little more on some pieces. I was heavily influenced by a lot of American weddings I had seen online and knew I wanted the emphasis to be on old-fashioned romance and elegance. I focused on collecting mercury and Venetian glass pieces such as our table plan written on a mirror and mixed them up with glass heart vases and crystal tea holders and silver mint julep cups.
We were able to hire candelabras and I bought crystals and hand threaded each crystal to create a chandelier affect, it wasn’t the most exciting of wedding tasks but I think the outcome paid off, especially on the two large candelabras we had at our entrance. The venue had a smaller barn for dancing and I wanted to ensure it still felt part of the styling so I draped tulle in pastel pink and lilac through the beams to soften the room and to add a bit of sparkle I hung a crystal ‘Love’ sign at the entrance to create a focal point.
As I studied English Literature at University I also included a few nods to my favorite authors. At the end of our order of Service I used the quote ‘Reader, I married him’ (Jane Eyre) and I included a selection of romanticist poets including Keats in a bundle of books I displayed with the wishing tree.
Not to be left out our puppy Dante sent a message in the best mans speech and we found a Westie silhouette to display in the smaller barn so he be part of the day without fear of him chewing our shoes!
Another feature was our desert table, I have a massive sweet tooth so one option would never be enough, instead we opted for a selection of deserts including our wedding cake and cheeses.
Elio sustained a head injury two years ago and as a Graphic Designer he wanted to put his own stamp on the wedding somewhere. He suffers from terrible fatigue and his concentration is affected, (he even fainted during the wedding!!) but throughout his rehabilitation he worked tirelessly to create the table names using our favorite ganster films that we liked to watch whilst he was recovering. They might not be the most romantic of names and it was difficult to decide who would sit on ‘Scarface’ and ‘The Departed’ tables but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. For me each postcard personified the struggle and determination Elio showed to fight back to health.
Ultimately we wanted our wedding not only to represent our love for each other but also use it as an opportunity to thank all our family and friends for all their love and support throughout Elio’s recovery. Planning the wedding brought a bit of happiness during a very sad time and the fact that it was able to happen at all was the best blessing of all.
Dress – Joanne Fleming Design
Headpiece – Amanda Wakeley
Band – The Chandeliers
Florals – Jo McNamara
Photography – Laura Babb
A really beautiful story of love, determination, strength and staying strong in times of trouble.
I’m sure you all join me in wishing Elio and Carly success, hapiness and good health as they start their future together.